Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
I like this quote and it definetly has some value but i think its more an issue of social structure and culture than religion that can be pointed to as the source that allows oppression, stratification and the like to flourish. every known human society accepts and practices some form of religion that can be paralleled with other religions through certain traits, even in hunter gatherer societies where rich and poor are not an issue because the accumultaion of wealth is not culturally valued. The fundamental problem with our society is that the market rules everything, nothing is valued over the accumulation of wealth and power. I think religion can and is sometimes used as a means of control and justification for unethical actions, but it is a great injustice to the masses of people who practice religion in a way which helps them grow and be more benevolent to the rest of humanity to say that religion is the focal point of what allows these things to go on. It is an issue of persons distorting religous reason to meet their own interests that lead to religion having negative outcomes, rarely is it because the overall ethical and moral teachings of a religion are malicious or malevolent. although many religious texts do encourage sometimes practices which were in their context socially acceptable which are now irrelevant, supplanted by science, or considered unaccepted in society; but it is noteworthy that those texts were written by people. I can say these things as an agnostic that went to church for my whole childhood in the south and has taken the time to gain at least a passing knowledge of many of the world religions in an academic setting, and i would say that the majority of religious action used with pure objectivity has done a lot of good in the world.